Red-billed Tropicbird on Lord Howe Island (update)

To: "" <>
Subject: Red-billed Tropicbird on Lord Howe Island (update)
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Sun, 05 Dec 2010 20:20:12 +1100
Hi All,
Just back from a three day visit to Lord Howe Island. I arrived on the island on Thursday 2nd Dec in the mid afternoon and was up near Kim's Lookout on the northern end of the island by 3:45pm. The Red-billed Tropicbird was immediately seen flying along the cliff edge and calling repeatedly amongst the hundreds of Red-tailed Tropicbirds present.

Over the next 15 minutes the bird made 3 or 4 passes along the cliff before it flew out to sea. I remained on the cliff edge that evening until about 7pm during which time it did not return.

Some pics of the bird are here...

Included in the gallery are two great images of the bird on its nest scrape that were taken by local tour guide Jack Shick. Also in the gallery are two images of the bird in flight alongside a Red-tailed Tropicbird. These images demonstrate the obvious differences between the two species as well as the more subtle differences such as the longer and more narrow wings of the Red-billed Tropicbird.

Providing the tropicbird trifecta, a single White-tailed Tropicbird was also present on a couple of occasions.

Since Thursday I am not aware of any positive news. On Friday I was in position from about 2:30pm through until about 6pm and did not see the bird. Likewise, on Saturday I was there between 9am and 1pm and the bird was nowhere to be seen. On both of these days another visitor to the island who was keen to see the bird devoted at least two further hours to the search at times when I was not present and also failed to see the bird. Locals also checked the nest scrape on both Friday (pm only) and Saturday (both am and pm) and the bird was not on the ground.

I don't have any updates from today but have sent a couple of emails to locals and will send another post when/if it is seen again. I'll also post a summary of my other Lord Howe Island bird sightings in a separate email.


Rohan Clarke

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